Music in the clouds

1310459644000 » Tagged as: cloud computing , Tagged as: copyleft , Tagged as: music

Paul McCartney is planning to have his complete music library in the clouds. Once this ambitious project is completed, any music lover could select his music ‘out of thin air’.

According to CNN reports, McCartney, the former Beatles legend, is having all his music digitized. It is estimated that it will take about three years to convert more than one million tracks, clips, and photos into computer readable format.

This is where technology has begun to serve the musician and the music lover. And soon, it will be not only the music lovers, but all connoisseurs of all forms of Art.

If we call this a silver lining in cloud computing then there are also those who see the dark cloud behind the silver lining. They see the threat of misuse and violation of copyright, which is anyway happening already.

A ‘cloud’ was the image used to represent the Internet or some large networked environment, which probablygave rise to the term cloud computing, or distributed computing. We no longer need to carry all our documents, information, reports in the hard disk of our computer or in flash drives, but we simply store them in the ‘clouds’, a service which we can make use of from anywhere through any computer or android phone.

Almost all of us are already into cloud computing when we use web based e-mail accounts, and when we use the e-books in the British Council library, by moving into our own ‘bookshelf’.

It could also be considered as similar to using banks today to store our money, so that we do not have to carry it around with us. Today we have our cash deposited in a bank branch, but withdraw it from any bank, any teller machine or make payment from anywhere in the world, which is made still easier with tele-banking.

In music we have been enjoying iTunes for a decade now, since 2001. Apple calls it a free application to organize and play digital music and video on a computer, which is now available for more portable equipment like iPods, iPhones and iPads. It was called the “world’s best and easiest to use ‘jukebox’ software”, and available for free download.

Amazon has the Cloud Drive. Your personal hard drive in the cloud. Store your music, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon’s secure servers. All you need is a web browser to upload, download, and access your files from any computer. Amazon offers 5 GB of free storage—enough space to store up to 1000 songs, 2,000 photos and 20 minutes HD video. Now Apple has come out with their own iCloud, offering almost the same terms as Amazon.

Cloud Music is a long way from the tinfoil recording of ‘Mary’s Little Lamb’ by Thomas Alva Edison in 1877. Clement Ader introduced the flat-disc gramophone in 1887 and one year later Edison introduced the electric motor driven phonograph. In 1895 it was Marconi who transmitted radio signals wirelessly.

A major breakthrough was in 1928 by Harry Nyquist, which became the foundation for the conversion of analog sound to digital.

Music had been enjoyed by man for at least the past 50,000 years, probably pre-dating language and the written word. The oldest known musical instrument the “Divje baby flute”, carved out of a bone, is 40,000 years old. since then, up to the time that music could be recorded and played back, all music had been ‘live’. It was the live performance that was enjoyed, sometimes a solo presentation, sometimes by a small group, and sometimes, where the audience too joined in. This music was made use of by all religions for their worship, prayers and appeals and probably helped in the development of early music.

Music had been the common language among mankind, appealing to all irrespective of race, creed, caste or language, and unrestricted by time, space, political and physical boundaries. And today with the cloud music, it has truly become universal.

Listening to music played back from a primitive music record, would not have attracted many people. There would have been much criticism. People would have often rejected the recorded music, because it was nowhere near what they enjoyed live. But they would have continued to listen to the recordings, because of its convenience. Day by day, with all the new technology, the quality of the recordings would have increased, and with the arrival of the compact cassette, music became portable. One could carry his music everywhere, with the only limitation of the storage capacity.

Once man got used to it, listening to recorded sound would have seemed more intimate, than listening to the music amidst a crowd.

We move from printed books to e-books, which we read on our phone or e-book reader, and then onto audio books, while engaged in some routine task. We do not have to physically visit a library or have our own home library. In the same way we will be moving on to listening to our songs, without keeping them in our own storage systems.

We could call it real progress when all such music, as well as all our books are freely available (through the Copyleft concept) on the clouds.

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